TUCKAHOE, N.Y. After tabling the issue for a month while tinkering with the language, the Tuckahoe Board of Trustees formally adopted an amended law that bans smoking at all village parks, ball fields and municipal buildings.
The trustees unanimously agreed to pass the law, which goes into effect immediately. Violators can be issued appearance tickets if caught smoking tobacco in these public places.
Makeda James, Westchester County coordinator for POWR (Putnam, Orange, Westchester, Rockland) Against Tobacco, praised the village for its proactive stance to ban smoking in places that children frequent.
Im here to applaud the village and to thank them for taking this important preventative measure, she said. Parks and playgrounds are places residents shouldnt have to worry about being exposed to secondhand smoke.
The law ends smoking at all parks, playgrounds and sporting events but not at privately owned locations such as church grounds. Smokers can still enjoy their tobacco but must retreat to the nearest street or sidewalk. During discussion at last months board meeting, Trustee Stephen Quigley said the benefits of the law outweigh the negative consequences for smokers.
None of the parks are so big that you couldnt step outside the boundary and keep an eye on your children, he said. At worst, its an inconvenience for smokers that is outweighed by the benefits of not smoking in the area.
POWR Against Tobacco will donate all signs the village will post at these locations warning about the amended law, James said. There will be a grace period to educate smokers, and police will not be issuing summonses right away to anyone violating the new rules, instead looking to inform them of the new law.
We all know now that tobacco use and secondhand smoke account for one in every five deaths in the country, and 25,000 New Yorkers die each year, James said. There is no safe level of secondhand smoke, and this is a big step forward for everyone.
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